Saint-Eustache Evangelical Church
Theological and practical considerations for joining the Green Church Program
Article adapted by Danielle Lajeunesse following a presentation by Stéphane Rhéaume, Senior Pastor of the MB Church in Saint-Eustache, Quebec, on May 29, 2013
In this article, we intend to answer two main questions. First: Why would we, as an evangelical Christian church, want to join the Green Church Program? And second: What are the theological and pastoral considerations involved? We will then close with a summary of the implications of certification and a review of some of the measures we have already taken.
Why join the Green Church Program?
Our immediate answer is:
1.Out of a concern for relevance and social credibility, as people are currently very much aware of environmental concerns (e.g., in keeping with the schools).
2.To reintroduce an element that has been neglected in our confession of faith (not something new theologically) concerning creation:
Article 3: We believe that in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth, and they were very good. All of creation expresses God’s sovereign will and design but remains distinct from the Creator. The universe belongs to God, who takes care and delight in sustaining it.
3.To promote overall Christian stewardship that includes God’s mandate for creation:
Article 15: We believe the universe and everything in it belong to God the Creator. God has entrusted the care of the earth to all people, who are responsible for managing its resources. Good stewardship uses the earth’s abundance to meet human need, but resists the unjust exploitation of the earth and its peoples. All God’s gifts are to be received with thanksgiving and used responsibly.
To confess Jesus as Lord transforms values.
Jesus warns that we cannot serve both God and wealth. Preoccupation with money and possessions, self-indulgent living, and eagerness to accumulate wealth for personal advantage are not in keeping with the teachings of Scripture.
The Bible teaches cheerful, sacrificial, and proportional giving through the church in grateful response to God’s goodness.
Christians do not claim any of their possessions as their own, but manage all their resources, including money, time, abilities, and influence, in generous ways that give glory to God. They do not despise the poor but practice mutual aid within the church and share what they have with others in need. God’s people seek to embrace a lifestyle of simplicity and contentment.
4.Because Creation declares God’s wisdom and power, calling all to worship him.
5.Because the Green Church Program is an appropriate vehicle for promoting our values with regard to Creation.
6.To stimulate other churches to reflect on this question and encourage their participation in the program (by setting an example).
What are the theological considerations involved? In other words, should the church go green?
Our answer is yes, absolutely. The Green Church Program is a good fit with our mission of proclamation and compassion because it is an approach that focuses on:
- The implications of the Gospel; The Gospel message is not being changed, but one of its implications is being highlighted. Like a beautiful daisy, the heart of the message remains reconciliation with God through Jesus Christ, but the petals represent the social, practical and ethical implications of Christian life.
- The Christian difference; We are not saying what people elsewhere are saying – our discourse comes out of a Christian framework.
- Christian stewardship of Creation; Because stewardship does not apply only to our time or our treasure.
- A comprehensive view of discipleship; The impact our faith has on our lives as a couple, a family, our finances, work, sexuality, money, etc.
Furthermore, to move forward with the Green Church Program, we recommend an approach aimed at being:
- Non-extremist: we are aware of the reality and complexity of the issues, but we want to take realistic action.
- Non-interfering: no environmental police or surveillance of private life; instead, we advocate a collective approach.
- Balanced: Christian environmentalism does not monopolize everything the church says and practises, it is only one aspect of the life of the church.
Implication of certification:
For us, certification has a symbolic value: it is indicative of a church’s theological and practical orientation. It is not so much a destination as a trajectory to follow. It reflects an intention, namely wanting to incorporate an ecological dimension into our faith.
Concrete actions taken:
The church is already regularly carrying out concrete actions related to the environment, such as the Sunday of Earth Day, intercessory prayer for the world, sermons related to creation, our summer programs for children that focus on nature (Natur-à-pik, Eau là-là, Tutti frutti), our occasional support for environmental initiatives (petition), having electric heating with a thermostat, the quality of our exterior maintenance, our purchase of fair trade coffee, paper cups and reusable dishes, our use of recycling bins (inside and outside) and our involvement in setting up a community garden on the church grounds for the past three years (the garden is open to the entire community and is primarily intended for community organizations and underprivileged families. It encourages people to eat fresh, locally-grown food and to adopt good living habits).
Becoming a Green Church makes sense!
Green Church Committee
Stéphane Rhéaume, Senior Pastor
Claude Queval, Teaching Pastor
Danielle Lajeunesse, Ministry Coordinator
Jocelyn Saint-Jean, Counselling
Bruno Synnott, Youth Pastor
Micheline Papineau, Secretary
Église chrétienne évangélique des Frères Mennonites de Saint-Eustache
69 rue Saint-Laurent